Houzz Tour: A Gorgeous Victorian Flat Redesigned on a Budget
This two-bed flat is proof that it’s possible to keep costs down and still create a home that’s stylishly individual
Opening up the small, dark, shabby kitchen to the light living area was key to the transformation. Lizzie then cleverly used inexpensive timber, natural materials and second-hand finds to give the whole home a unique look and a peaceful mood.
Who lives here? Architect Lizzie O’Neill
Location Redland, Bristol
Property A flat on the first floor of a three-storey Victorian terraced house
Size Two bedrooms and one bathroom
Architect Lizzie O’Neill of EJ Studio
Photos by Jolanta Valeniece of Valeniece Studio
The first job was to knock through the wall, seen here, between the living room and kitchen. Rather than taking out the whole wall, Lizzie went for a smaller opening, which happily retained the beautiful cornicing.
“It has a sliding door to shut out the washer noise and keep all the messy stuff away,” she says. “I’ve painted the walls in there in the same grey-green as the guest bedroom and a shelving unit in the living room, so it ties the look together.”
The oak units are from Ikea (no longer available). The tall unit on the right houses the fridge-freezer, and there’s a small dishwasher next to it, plus a single oven and an induction hob towards the left.
The oak shelf was custom-made and has a lip at the front to hide an LED strip. “Quite often, LEDs can be stuck on and they’re quite glarey, whereas this has a diffuser,” Lizzie explains.
As you can see from the previous photo, the step up was already there, due to drainage needs for the bathroom, but it actually helped with the layout. “It creates this really nice divide,” Lizzie says.
Lizzie kept the boiler (seen on the left in the previous photo) in the same position to save money and simply boxed it in using more cladding.
The peninsula is only a 600mm kitchen unit deep. “Many people think a kitchen island has to be big, but this does all the things you need it to,” Lizzie says.
There’s no breakfast bar. “With the level change, it wouldn’t have quite worked, as you’d need really tall stools,” Lizzie says. It makes a good bar area on social occasions, though, with friends able to stand there with a drink. “And sometimes I stand on that side to work,” she says. “It’s quite a good level to put the laptop on, because it’s much higher, so it’s like a standing desk.”
To keep costs down, Lizzie didn’t change the living room floorboards, but simply sanded the orange varnished pine to lighten it. The kitchen flooring is 600mm x 600mm concrete-effect porcelain tiles.
Worktop, Arenastone. Collect Lighting pendant lights, Ferm Living. All other lights, Astro Lighting.
Splashback tiles, Fired Earth.
The windows have been upgraded to reduce heat loss. “I got a local guy to replace all the windows with slim double glazing – you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference from the original ones,” she says.
The fabulous ceiling rose is original. The second-hand pine unit on the right of the fireplace hides the TV.
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“This has a slight pinky tone to it, but it’s also stony – not too cool,” she continues. “It makes a lovely backdrop for the different timbers – the oak, which has an orangier tinge, and the pine of the TV cabinet and floorboards.”
Walls painted in Rolling Fog Pale, Little Greene.
The model was made by Lizzie for a former architecture project. “That was back in the days when I had time to make models,” she laughs.
Unit painted in Waxed Khaki, Dulux Heritage.
Lizzie put new column radiators in all the rooms, which happily chime with the vertical lines throughout.
It was made to measure, as the walls are “a little bit wonky”, but Lizzie couldn’t quite decide what she wanted for the doors, so left them off initially. She’s since put some on (see the next photo).
Walls painted in Skimming Stone, Farrow & Ball.
Wardrobe doors, B&Q.
The bench was made bespoke, partly to be used in the bedroom and partly for when Lizzie needs extra seating in the dining area.
The green works beautifully as a backdrop for the various timbers – the pine floor, oak bed and reclaimed side tables.
Wall light, Loaf (no longer available).
The top of the unit is protected with Osmo oil. “I’m careful not to get too much water on it, but it’s a year old now and has held up really well,” Lizzie says.
Renovating the flat has given her a real appreciation of her home. “Taking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room was one of the really interesting things,” she says. “Even though it was a very old timber stud wall with lath and plaster on it, inside they’d filled it with rubble, and within the rubble we found interesting artefacts – little drinks bottles, matchboxes and even a cigarette card that dated to around 1900.
“In the process of renovating, you come to be more connected to the building, because you find out interesting things about it,” she says. “It’s been a proper labour of love.”
What do you like best about this renovated Victorian flat? Share your favourite features in the Comments.